Leave without pay


Q. I will have been with the IRS for 20 years on September 30, 2019, and I plan to retire Feb. 23, 2020. I have taken leave without pay (LWOP) several times for medical reasons throughout my career. How does LWOP affect my retirement date?

A. An employee may take up to six months of leave without pay in a calendar year without it affecting either his/her length of service or High-3. Any leave that exceeds six months isn’t creditable for any purpose. For more information, go to www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/leave-administration/fact-sheets/leave-without-pay.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to fedexperts@federaltimes.com.


  1. I am considering retirement after 32 1/2 yrs of service. My MRA happens Jan 14, 2017 – so my retirement date will likely be Jan 31, 2017. I started my career as a co-op student – working part time and lwop – going to college- occasionally not working for a quarter if my schedule was heavy . My agency recently did a retirement estimate for me. I have a 98% “FERS part-Time Proration Factor” in my estimate. It’s unclear to me what this proration means and where it may have been applied in my estimate.

  2. Does this also apply to LWOP-US (for military service)? Or do you have to make deposit for periods of LWOP-US even if it is less than 6 months?

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